Mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing has not posed a serious safety hazard for victims and rescuers; however some rescuers may fear the risk of infectious diseases and are reluctant to give mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths to strangers.
To avoid the chance that the victim will not receive any care, compression-only or “Hands Only” CPR method can be considered in these situations:
Rescuer is unwilling or unable to perform mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
An untrained bystander is following dispatcher-assisted CPR instructions.
Personal protective devices are unavailable.
Hands Only CPR Cycle
HANDS ONLY:Bystanders who witness a sudden cardiac arrest and try CPR can skip the mouth-to-mouth breathing. The American Heart Association says doing chest compressions alone, or “Hands Only” CPR, until help arrives can be just as good as performing full mouth to mouth CPR.
WHO'S IT FOR? Any adult who collapses, stops breathing and is unresponsive. Children, infants and drowning victims still need mouth-to-mouth breaths.
WHAT TO DO: First, call or have a bystander call 911. Then press hard and fast, about 100-120 times per minute, on the middle of the victim's chest. Continue care until EMS arrives, an AED becomes available or you are too tired to continue.
***Conventional CPR is recommended for children and infants, however due to the asphyxial nature of most pediatric cardiac arrests, rescue breaths may not be possible. In these instances, the hands only method is preferred to no CPR.